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Don Carter - Helped Found Pba

bowling professional bowler association

In 1958, Carter was a charter member of the PBA and served as the organization's first president. It was organized by Carter and other professional bowlers who wanted the professional tour to have a structure in terms of tournaments, travel, and organization. They modeled it after the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour.

Carter was instrumental in making the PBA successful. It began sponsoring tournaments in 1959, and Carter was its early dominant bowler. His importance to the sport could be found when in 1961, an upstart rival, the National Bowling Association, was founded to challenge the PBA's dominance. While the National Bowling Association attracted many leading pros of the day, it lasted only a year in part because Carter would not leave the PBA.

Chronology

1926 Born July 29 in St. Louis, Missouri
1953 Joins Anheuser-Busch-sponsored bowling team; marries LaVerne Haverly, also a professional bowler
1958 Serves as PBA president
1973 Retires from Bowling competition
1976 Marries third wife Paula
1994 Comes out of retirement to compete in the Palm Beach Senior Classic

Being an early part of the PBA was not Carter's only contribution to the sport. He also helped develop equipment. In 1959, Carter designed the first bowling glove, known as the Don Carter Glove. The glove had a small

Don Carter

pad that filled the space between the palm and the bowling ball that it gripped. It made the wearer feel like they had better control over the ball. Many of Carter's gloves were sold. He also came up with innovations for shoes and bowling bags.

By the 1960s, Carter had cemented his place at the top of his game, both professionally and from a business point of view. In 1960, he led the PBA in money won, and won the All-Star, World's Invitational and the PBA National Championship. Carter again led the PBA in money won in 1962, and became the only bowler to ever win the Hickok Belt as professional athlete of the year.

Carter capitalized on his fame with commercial endorsements. He had a 23-year-long association with Ebonite, including a ten-year deal he signed in the 1960s worth $100,000. At the time, it was the biggest deal for an athlete and one of the biggest ever for a bowler.

Carter understood what it took to become a leader at his sport. He told Pezzano of the Record, "To become a great bowler takes temperament and dedication. Bowling is a very difficult game mentally. In golf, you see all the hazards. In bowling you don't see the slick boards. Every lane is different. You have to adjust for your mistakes. The best bowlers are the ones who are able to adjust."

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